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There aren’t too many hurdles left to big business adopting Android tablets as productivity tools. They integrate with secure email solutions (Exchange and Good are two examples), they run most of the same apps as iOS tablets do, but there’s always been one hurdle — there’s the perception that they don’t integrate too well with Microsoft Office products.

While there are apps that can read and write to Office documents, they often make a mess of formatting or cannot be read by a desktop PC afterwards which in some instances can be disastrous.

While it’s not an immediate fix, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In a recent blog post, Microsoft Office 365 development plans include extending the full editing capabilities of the web apps suite to Android tablets in the near future. At present, this is a luxury which is currently only afforded to Windows 8 tablets and iPads when accessing the online productivity suite from the software giant.

The Office Web Apps also serve as a key connection point between Office and the expanding array of devices our customers use. We enable you to access Office content and tools from your device of choice through cross browser support on those devices where Office isn’t installed or available. The full power of the Office Web Apps is already available for Windows 8 tablets and iPads and we will be extending the same capabilities to Android tablets via mobile Chrome browser support.

Taking a leaf out of Google’s own playbook, Microsoft also have plans to integrate real time collaboration on documents and spreadsheets where, like Google Drive, you can see the changes that your co-workers and colleagues are making to the document in real time. The blog post cites this as a great enhancement to enable even richer collaboration, but in the current age of the cloud isn’t this an expected function for web based applications?

So it seems with this issue of integration to the Microsoft Suite of products being slowly resolved, the potential for Android to forge a path into daily producitvity in busienss is great.

Do you think Microsoft Web Apps being available could be a winning stroke for Android in business? Or is there another piece of the puzzle missing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

Source(s): Office 365 Blog
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  • Andy D

    I was actually really happy to hear this. People bag out Microsoft but at the end of the day they’re still the producers of the most popular productivity software in the world. Their stuff has flaws but it’s still really good stuff.

    Come to think of it, the whole “cloud app” system is probably why they held off releasing MS products for mobile systems… these SaaS (software as a service, the term used before “cloud” became the rage) “apps” are almost impossible to pirate, so they probably didn’t want to release a product that could be pirated into the wild if they didn’t have to. Kind of well played from a business perspective.

    • Phil Tann

      I agree for the most part,
      if they ONLY have cloud apps in the future, always on internet is a requirement then not a luxury.

      • Andy D

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, at the moment I’d much prefer an offline version too since network coverage is patchy (regardless of carrier). At the end of the day though, if I’m in serious need to have quality productivity programs on the go, chances are I’ll have an always-connected device.

        I think that by the time we reach a point where “cloud apps” are the norm, most devices will be always-connected. The transition has already started I believe. MS and Adobe, amongst other vendors, have at least a significant portion of their suites available in this format. Well, those which are capable of being cloud based anyway.

        This suite being released now is pretty much the beginning of the product cycle and is very future orientated. Well, that’s my 2c. :)

  • lobie81

    My organisation is struggling with connectivity to network drives from android devices and chrome books. Any tips?